Just a brief post to review how our first week went.
1. We started off eating foods that I soon realized were a little too extravagant for the every day eating. I found myself scaling us back mid-week. Even cheap healthy foods like breakfast cookies are not as cheap as a bowl of oatmeal with a few raisins and a bit of sugar.
2. Jean's sacrifices: a) Eating oatmeal for breakfast (I love you breakfast cookies), b) the constant tracking of food and food costs. It can get a little crazy. That said, it's an exercise I think everyone should try at some point. But more on that in #4.
3. Kip's scarifices: a) Not getting candy bars at work, b) not eating large handfuls of chocolate chips in the afternoon, c) not eating out at work, and d) not as much meat as he'd prefer (Kip actually didn't say this when I asked him what he'd sacrificed--only the candy made his main radar, but I think he'd prefer a bit more meat). By the way, Kip has been a super sport about this whole thing. Thank you, my love.
4. I have learned a bunch from neurotically tracking our foods and spending. I've learned where we often waste. I've learned that my kids can go through 4 (yes, 4) loaves of bread each week and probably at least 10 pounds of bananas as well (we ran through our 8 pounds before the week was over last week). It has been interesting to realize what our meals cost, what certain vegetables cost prepared, and how filling certain foods are compared to their cost (some meals are very cheap, but I'm starving an hour later), and what drives up the costs of meals (vegetables, condiments, sauces). Often the base foods seem right on track, but then we add butter or ketchup or a pound of apples and things get pricy fast. I'm not saying those things (the veggies and fruits most notably) are bad to add. In fact, I think they're a lot more essential than candy bars, which are their own crazy kind of money suck, but they do add to a meal. Seriously, people, you should give the food/cost tracking a try for at least a week. It'll teach you a lot about yourself and your family. I think it will help you make better and cheaper food choices. And it will help you eat and spend more consciously. Is cheap chocolate really worth that chunk of your budget. Or even boneless skinless chicken breasts. What about the cost of store-bought bread? And how much of all that food/money do you allow to be thrown out? It's a little frightening, but very interesting and surprisingly empowering.
Stay Tuned: Tonight I'll be posting homemade tater tots--Gourmet of the Year, here I come.